The heavy lifting
RESIN flooring is the best flooring option for many different types of environment, says FeRFA.
Originally developed as a durable, high performance flooring system for use in aggressive industrial environments, continued technical development and innovation has resulted in resin flooring systems that reportedly offer impressive durability and wear resistance, together with aesthetic and design appeal
In many cases, says FeRFA, a resin floor is chosen because it offers significant performance advantages over other flooring options, often resulting in enhanced durability which in itself has a major environmental benefit. Resin flooring systems are also chosen in situations where no other product is fit for purpose because of their performance characteristics and ability to provide a seamless, hygienic and slip-resistant floor which is sustainable and cost-effectiveness over time.
Specifying and selecting the correct resin flooring system is essential to ensure that it meets the requirements of the end user in terms of intended use and the type, extent and frequency of trafficking. Resin flooring systems can be divided into 8 basic types developed by FeRFA and specified in BS 8204-6 in terms of thickness and surface finish.
An important industry development over the last seven years has been the establishment of the FeRFA recycling scheme which continues to grow in scale and importance. A continuing year-on-year upward trend for the diversion of materials away from landfill shows that the industry as a whole is intent on improving its recycling performance. The 2017 figures for diversion of waste from landfill were 2,054.68 tonnes, compared with 1,877.82 tonnes in the previous year.
This is an impressive success story for the resin flooring sector, considering that up to the introduction of the recycling scheme in 2011, waste packaging was routinely sent to landfill. The drive to sustainability has been encouraged by changes in the relevant legislation, with greater focus on streaming waste and identifying recycling opportunities. FeRFA’s partners in the recycling scheme are Reconomy UK and Protech Plastics Containers.
Environmental performance is also a factor when it comes to choosing a flooring system. Seamless resin flooring provides a sustainable option which meets the low carbon agenda for construction and reduces waste. Resin floors always fit the space for which they are intended, since they are created in situ, so there is no material waste, says FeRFA.
Synthetic resin floorings can be divided into different types varying in thickness and surface finish. All these types of flooring can be produced on the basis of each of the different synthetic resin types listed in 5.2. For any synthetic resin type there is a wide range of formulations and properties possible. Care must be taken to ensure that manufacturers’ data sheets and recommendations are fully considered before selecting products for a specific set of circumstances or conditions.
Resin flooring is available in a number of different types varying in thickness and surface finish. Some of these types of may be produced with special decorative effects by the incorporation of coloured particles or flakes in the surface and terrazzo-like finishes (ground exposed aggregate) may be produced from certain trowel-applied floorings of Types 5 to 8. Slip resistant, flexible or anti-static/conductive versions of some of these categories may also be available.
Choosing the correct flooring system has always been the key factor in ensuring that all the client’s requirements are met from the chosen system. The selection process should always include an exchange of information between the client and the resin flooring manufacturer and/or the specialist contractor.
Any particular site issues or requirements such as loading, trafficking, slip resistance, as well as cleaning and maintenance, should be discussed to ensure the client has an understanding of how the resin flooring system will perform and which resin system would be the most suitable.
FeRFA promotes the use of the classification system to assist specifiers. The different resin types are defined from Type 1 to Type 8, based on the applied thickness of the resin system. The thickest type is greater than 6mm and is effectively impervious for the heaviest loading and trafficking. The classification system allows a cross-reference between products from different manufacturers, irrespective of brand names, and provides useful guidance when selecting a resin flooring system.
Resin systems are not only popular in the manufacturing sector - they can now offer aesthetic design appeal, FeRFA says. Comfort flooring, or ‘liquid vinyl’ systems are growing in popularity, particularly in the commercial sector. These reportedly offer the comfort properties typically provided by cushion vinyl, but with the added benefit of providing a seamless hygienic and easy to maintain floor. It is these types of performance characteristics that have influenced specifiers and clients to choose resin flooring systems over alternative flooring options, says FeRFA.
In food and drink processing and preparation areas, seamless resin flooring can reportedly make a positive contribution to the health and safety regime in terms of hygiene and slip resistance. Correctly specified and applied, resin flooring is said to be well proven as providing the required levels of slip resistance in wet, dry and contaminated conditions.
The process of selecting the appropriate flooring system should always account for the functional needs of the floor finish, the substrate on which it is to be installed, and the aesthetic requirements is available within a series of RIBA CPD-approved FeRFA guidance notes which cover a wide range of topics, and are free to download from the website.
The installation of resin floors is a specialist skill area and FeRFA endorses a qualified workforce through the achievement of NVQ Level 2 and above. As the training provider for the resin flooring, screeding and surface preparation sectors, FeRFA runs apprenticeship schemes, supervisory and contract management training, as well as one day upskilling courses. A qualified workforce raises standards in the industry and gives the client the assurance and evidence of the contractor’s ability to undertake the work involved, FeRFA says.